Saturday, December 20, 2014

Fast Write 12/20/14

This morning as I was getting dressed, I yanked open a dresser drawer.  Disappointed not to find something appealing in there, I shut it.  Then opened it again, resigned to wear something, even if it wasn't one of my faves.  I pulled out a sweater and slid the drawer closed.  That's when I heard it - a faint chimey noise.  I had no idea where that noise had come from.  I slid the drawer open and closed a few more times and there it was again.

I moved aside a sweater and there on the bottom of the drawer was a single jingle bell.  WTF!?!  Anyone who knows me, knows I don't do Christmas.  So how did that single bell end up in my drawer?  Was it a remnant of the strip of bells I made for the dog eons ago to let me know when she needed to go out?  Nope - this was bright shiny new bell.   And why had I never heard it before?  I open that drawer nearly every morning.  I stood there puzzling for quite a while.

During the puzzling, I had a flashback to a certain movie that I had to watch on continuous loop with a friend's son one holiday in which the jingle bells can only be heard by true believers.  WTF part 2!?!  I am anything but a true believer in this secular Christian holiday.  Why would I hear the bell?

I felt something shift around inside me, making room for understanding.  I may not be a true believer in the Claus or the Christ, but I am a true believer in love.  I am a true believer in the power of darkness and light that cycle through this time of the year.  I don't do a tree and haven't for years, but I collect vintage Putz ornaments that remind me of those that hung on every tree of my childhood.  I don't hang lights, but am cheered to see lights shining in the long dark of winter.  Don't misunderstand.  I am not a scrooge.  I don't begrudge others this celebration.  I just do not want to be part of that.  I don't believe that love/gifts should be limited to a few dates on the calendar.

I'm not sure where this post is going, nor do I care.  Just trying to acknowledge that in my own way I celebrate love and the shift from darkness to light that happens at this time of year.  That is enough for me.  You can keep the crazy shopping for crap, the unnecessary tree death of wrapping paper/cards/shipping boxes.  You can keep dudes in a red suit and creches.  You can keep dysfunctional and drama-filled dining.

I will keep the frost of snow in the clear dark of winter, the lift of carols being sung by hopeful children.  I will keep cozy socks and the crunch of snow under my boots.  I will keep my friends close and love them as much as I am able.  I will love me most of all.  

And I will keep that bell in my drawer to remind me that I do believe.

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Tribe of Memory Care

When we moved my mom to memory care a year ago, I knew it was the right decision.  I was passed what I could safely deal with and one of us was going to end up hurt or dead if we continued.  So after blistering tears and lots of shouting we moved her.

I can still remember my first day visiting her in memory care.  Gut check.  The people seemed so broken and damaged.  J, the resident who no longer verbalized and spent her day shuffling around the edges of things.  M, the unblinking woman who carried her baby with her everywhere and would break out into screaming fits.  M2, the know it all who felt entitled to give her opinion on everything and tell people what to do at all times.  J and C, who's incessant calling for the nurse or for help made me want to lock them in their rooms.  My mom didn't belong here with these cuckoo people.  It was hard to look at some of them and imagine my bright and energetic mama spending days with them.

 But there were a handful that were more like mom, in the early moderate stages of AD and that made it bearable. There was M, her new bestie an equally feisty woman I loved on sight.  There were R and M, both sweet and kind.  And there was G, my mom's compadre in her desperate escape plans.  She cried every time I left.   I cried every time I left her there for three months.  Somehow knowing that there were some people there that seemed like her made it feel OK.

So for the last year, I have been visiting her on Tuesday nights and Saturday afternoon/evening.  We have developed new rituals that work for us.  Mostly though we hang out with the other people in Memory Care.  I no longer see them as the cuckoo birds that I saw that first day, instead I see them as they are - wounded and broken human beings just looking for some love and some company.  I understand that intimately.

What I never expected was to love this little twisted broken tribe of seniors.  But the more time I spend there, the more invested I become with all of them, not just my mom.  So when I heard that her partner in crime, G, had passed away it was a gut punch.  I had just seen him the day before.  He and my mom were trying to leave as I had been coming in.  That image flashed through my head over and over of the two of them heads bent together, looking up guiltily when I came through the door as if they had been caught snitching cookies.  Every time it did, I felt that same heavy sadness.

I am glad that G is no longer suffering, that he has been reunited with his memories and his wife.  But I am also sad for me and for the other members of the tribe who may not remember him, but will undoubtedly sense the hole left by his passing.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Sunday Fast Write

I was told that girls are weaker, slower, less intelligent, less everything.  They were the shadowy bit one can create when starting with only a rib.  I was taught to defer and bend the knee to any man, to every man.  There seemed no place for a woman who did not behave in this world.

Because of those teachings, I would not stand up against physical abuse.  I didn't know I could.  Besides, who would listen?  I was just a kid, and just a girl kid.  I learned that to have a boy like me I had to pretend to be stupid in math and science, to miss a simple layup on purpose and shrug as if to say "What do you expect?  I'm just a girl."  Later, I faked orgasms, hid how much money I made.  I bit my tongue instead of pointing out the flaws in his thinking.  I feigned interest in whatever a man liked, so much so that to this day I am still discovering what I like.

All that pretending left me angry, bitter.  I lashed out for no reason to try to attain an even playing field.  I never got it.  Not that way.  The rebellious fuck you stage lasted a long time.  As it drew to a close I knew no more about myself than I did before.

I was a creature of extremes.  The extreme of folding to fit in any slot.  The unfolded flat and rigid fuck you, refusing to bend at all.

These days, I am learning to let the edges curl, to let the pages flap in the wind and rumple delightfully, to discern what I need, what I like, what I want and to ask for that, to find a place where I am neither the folded, nor the foldee, but that has room for edges to overlap and withdraw as needed.

Sunday, October 12, 2014


She dug through her purse looking for her key, fumbling through layers of notes, of tampons, cheap makeup and loose change.  She located the key with her fingers by the overly large plastic fob with the picture of Han Solo and dredged it from the depths.  She looked at it.  She loved this key.  It was everything she wanted.  Freedom.  Stillness.  Unlimited MTV.  There would be other keys to join it on the ring.  Each a stepping stone from there to here.  But this one, this one wrapped all her adolescent hopes in its tarnished brass SCHLAGE.  Smiling. Humming happily to herself, she shoved it in the lock allowing herself to imagine the afternoon of freedom that stretched out before her.  Holding her books tightly to her chest, she gave the door a hip check and let the momentum carry her across the threshold.  She froze in mid-step.  All thoughts of freedom, of happiness evaporating.

He was slouched at the counter over a high ball glass of bourbon.  In her head she unleashed a string of fucks.  She dare not say them in front of him.  Girl or no, he hates that word and tends to strike first and apologize later.  When she is on her own, she will say it out loud and often.  Maybe she will even shout it from the rooftop.  What was that Whitman quote?  Oh yeah “I will sound my barbaric FUCK over the rooftops of the world.”  But for now the fucks are silent.

“Hi dad” she says leaning in to kiss his grey cheek.  From the smell she can tell this is not his first bourbon of the afternoon and knows it won’t be his last.

He lifts his head “Hi sweetheart” only to have it slowly sink back into his chest, eyes traveling back to the glass of bourbon as he swirls it.  He seems to have forgotten her. 

She drops her books on the dining room table.  “You hungry pop” she asks.  But he does not answer.  She moves efficiently in the kitchen, almost noiseless, knocking together two grilled cheese sandwiches.  She slides the plated sandwich in front of him, but it too goes unnoticed.  It usually does.  Sometimes she is envious of her friends whose mom’s greet them with warm cookies and how-was-your-days.  There haven’t been warm cookies in this house for ten years, not since her mom went back to work.  And no one cares to ask her about school.  She carries straight A’s and they no longer notice.  Any questions about school are reserved for her younger brother who is an uninspired student.  This arrangement is fine with her.  The less notice the better she thinks.  She nibbles the sandwich, quietly mulling how different her home life is from that of her friends.  How this house seems dark and full of secrets.  How it is dark and full of secrets. 

She is just about to get up, rinse her plate and start her homework when he speaks. 

“Have I ever told you about how I met your mom?”

“No daddy”
He grows silent again.  This time his eyes turned not toward the glass, but inward.  The silence stretches out.  She thinks maybe he has lost the thought. 

“We met at Devou Park”

She knows Devou Park.  She and her classmates sometimes cruise through the park hoping to meet cute CovCath boys. 

“We were there for a 50-50 picnic.”

“What’s 50-50?”

“It was a group for young unmarried Catholic people to meet and get to know each other.  I guess they don’t do that anymore.”

“I guess not” she shrugged.

“Well anyway.  We had a picnic and played softball.”

She imagines her mother younger and playing softball.  It’s not hard for her to do.  Her mom is quite the tomboy and loves baseball and basketball and is learning about football.  Her dad?  That image is harder to create.  He has been the ghost in her life for so long.  Passing through on Sundays for family dinner and unexpected moments like this one.

“There was this new girl there with her friend Marian.  I noticed her because she played ball.  And not like the other girls.  She wasn’t afraid of the ball and would go right at it.  She was so beautiful.  I couldn’t take my eyes off her.  I loved her on sight.”

“Really da?  You loved her?”

“Yup.  Bona fee-day love at first sight.” 

He clinked the cubes in the empty glass again and she expected him to refill the glass.  Instead he continued.

“Problem was, she wanted nothing to do with me.”

“What?  Was she crazy?” she responded.  She had seen old pictures of him in his army uniform.  He wasn’t as good looking as Harrison Ford, but he was still good looking.  Only remnants of that smiling handsome man remained in the broken one hunched before her over the empty glass.  He smiled at her.

“Your mom was smart.  Too smart for me.  She was the smartest woman I ever met and the most beautiful, at least until you were born.  She had grown up with money, knew which fork to use and stuff like that.  I didn’t deserve her.”

She knew her dad’s story, or thought she did.  Poor farming parents, mom died when he was seven, step mom rejected him, high school drop out. 

“That’s silly pop.  She was lucky to get you” she said sliding back into the stool opposite him. 

“She sure didn’t think so” he said.  The lapse stretched out longer and longer.  She thought he would get up then and pour another drink.  She was surprised when he didn’t and prodded him.

“So what happened?”

“I made a promise to the Blessed Virgin.  I told her I would make a Novena every month and that I would give her flowers on every one of her holy days.”

She knew from her eleven years of Catholic schooling how big that promise was.  She also knew her father was many things, some of them less than desirable.  But one thing he was was faithful to his promises.  Hadn’t he promised to take her to Father Daughter Dance Freshman year?  Hadn’t he explained to his employer how he couldn’t go to Florida because of that promise?  Hadn’t that same employer flown him home on his private jet so he could surprise her and take her?  Yes, one thing she knew to be true in her bones was that if her dad made a promise, he kept it. 

She had also known he had a soft spot for Mary, but hadn’t known why until now.  She kinda understood why too.  He believed Mary had interceded on his behalf and helped him win her mom.  Had she been more romantically inclined like her friend Deana, she might have found this so charming.  Instead, her practical nature refused the existence of deities in the sky who gave a shit about her or any one else.  If he had landed her mom, it was because he believed that he had help from Mary.  It worked simply because he thought it would. 

“After a month, I asked her out” he continued.  “She said yes and it was easy as rolling downhill after that.”

Easy?  He thought this life was easy?  Good god, this life blew chunks and she couldn’t wait to be out of it.  She reached across and patted his hand.

“That’s a great story pop, but I got homework to do” as she moved toward her stack of books.  He raised his head.

“I still do it you know.  The flowers.  The novenas.  And I always will.”

“I don’t doubt it for a minute” she answered.  Her dad moved on to the next glass of bourbon and she moved off to her European studies.  Head down.  Immersed in tracing Visigoth migrations on a map of Europe. 

She would think of that afternoon only rarely, on the day she found a cache of love letters written from her dad to her mom, on his last day when he waited for her mom to be with him, in preparation of his funeral.  She insisted there be blue colored daisies, the same as her mother carried on their wedding day.  And she insisted there be extra ones for the altar of the Virgin at the church where his funeral was held.  She insisted that Ave Maria be sung.  She would not explain to her brothers or her mother or the priest why it needed to be so.  Her steadfastness made them all back down in their talk of money or how they wanted it to be.  It would be the way he wanted.  Just this once. 

She sometimes wondered if her dad had ever shared that story with her mom.  Certainly he had.  Their marriage as she knew it had been ugly, but it had not always been so and she found comfort in that. 

Thirty years after his death, the story would tumble out of her at a table in a dimly lit kitchen of the Alzheimer’s unit where her mother now lived.  She would tell the story in the hopes that it would replace the heavy and ugly story her mother remembered of her marriage and her husband.  He loved her.  

He always had.  He always would.  Her mom deserved to know that.  On the evening that the story is told, her mother will cry.  She will cry.  And she will know that the story was not told for her alone, but so that she could carry it from that long ago day to this one.  She had merely been the keeper. 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Belly Series Poem 10.5.14

My belly has scars
Deep and old
Pink and chatoyant
The way old scars become
on fish white skin

One longitudinal 
Made by a surgeon’s knife
Fifteen years ago
Bisects the belly sphere
Stretching from navel pole to pubic pole
Interior pink twisted fruit exposed
Wormy bits cut out
Tossed in a bin
by all but me

I look in the mirror
And I wonder
how the fruit has fallen
inside my belly
in its absence

Monday, September 8, 2014



secret voices whispered
into baby ears
crooned cradle songs that
covered the sounds of arguing

took me to places inside
but not inside
thick teutonic forests
sod houses on a green grass sea
striped clowns of black and white
western facing hogans
pulsed by thundering herds
frigid silent limestone convents
leaning in to samoan laughter
the black wolf

voices led me away
saved me from the world
introduced me to my ancient self


my father's voice
well-worn though seldom used
harshed by a thousand marlboro reds
silent as the grave
where he now lies
never gentle
never soothing
in its sobriety
always razor sharp and
barbed to prevent closeness

its exact rhythm and timbre
i no longer remember
but i hear him still
in the rattling clink of ice cubes
in an empty highball glass


undisturbed layers of voiceless dust
settled thick enough to write in
if only i dared
must not disturb the status quo
i will remain silent
i must not tell

let it be
let the sleeping dog lie
but that need
pokes pokes pokes
jabbing memories
like a monkey wielding a stick

but only inside
when they tumble free
entombed memories
choked on childhood’s ashes

barbaric or soft
it sounds
ripped beyond
the veil of voicelesness
a harsh bleat from an impala
caught fast in the jaws of a lion

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Eating Tabbouleh

I cut my hand once making tabbouleh years ago.  I was foolishly holding the lemon in my hand when the knife slipped through the lemon more easily than I had anticipated and cut deep into my palm.  There was that brief moment that it takes for the nerve impulses to get to your brain and back, the one where your eyes tell you the truth before your body, where you have time to wonder why that didn't hurt more.  Then it all catches up.  The cut, the pain, the lemon juice trailing into the gaping skin.  The cut was painful, but it was the exquisite pain of the lemon juice in that open wound that I remember.  

I still cannot eat tabbouleh without closing my fist protectively against that remembered pain.  

That was intended to be the piece of writing for the day, but something in there stuck.  I circled back to the computer thinking it was something that needed oomphing in the text.  But no.  That wasn't it.  I liked the imagery and the poignancy of it as is.  I finally recognized what it was and walked away from the whole thing, only to circle it like a buzzard for another hour or so.  

I have tried to move the blogging bits away from things that feel preachy to me or in anyway I-know-better-than-you voiced.  I most certainly DO NOT know anything of the sort.  When this wouldn't rest, I had to weigh those two things against each other: seeming preachy v just remaining silent.  Somehow I knew that the buzzards would not leave it alone.  

It's not about the tabbouleh (which was delicious btw even though there were bits of me in it).  What it was about was the reflexive protection that remembered pain brings.

Being a caregiver to my mama with AD means we live in the past a lot since that is the place she remembers best.  For her it's a happy place, for me not so much and I find myself curling protectively around those painful memories lest she jab one inadvertently.  The thing is, I don't want to be a closed fist with her.  I want to be an open palm, able to stroke her cheek or draw her into my arms.  Can't do that with fisted hands.  So there is that to think on today.  

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Blocked At Every Turn

I'm not at all sure what happened.

Four years ago
we were marauding the west coast
singing along to Clapton
roaming through the rain in WA/OR
You were falling in love with your newest GF
I was between jobs and free in the moment
There was the ritual of tea behind the reclining Buddha
and sweated windows of the Tao in Portland
you dared to kiss the sky at Jimi's final resting place
There was Pike's Place market and the graffiti painted Chucks I wanted
where you stopped every few feet to answer yet another text from GF
a chain played out ten feet
before we had to stop for you to fumble out another answer

It felt selfish to me.
It still does.
I should have gone my own way
I should have left you to it.
The question is why didn't I?

Then you fell off the edge of the world.
Cut off with no explanation.
The cut deep and painless, only confusing.
I want to know why.
But there is only empty air beneath that question

Monday, August 18, 2014

The City of My Comfort

You have to leave the city of your comfort 
and go into the wildness of your intuition - Alan Alda

The City of My Comfort

the city of my comfort is
unplottable on Google maps
too small to be seen
a city  within the shell of a hermit crab
a place where I can pull in my limbs
become invisible
just another empty shell on the beach

the city of my comfort
has a uniform of
plainest white or crazy tie-dyed coats
things are sterile
things are contaminated
things are in carefully controlled flux
everything magnified 400 times
light refracted through bottles on a shelf
days marched out
obedient binary soldiers
of chaos and boredom

the city of my comfort
has cool marble floors under bare feet
here it is alwayssummer
all the knowledge of the world
all the words of the world
for me to twist and fondle in the dim light
smelling of ink and paper
of scriptoria and sumi brushes
a place of reverent silence
filled with scritching pens

the city of my comfort
is closely bordered by grey and pink wagon wheels
where minnows nibble on my toes in icy water
and the big one is alternately caught or spits the hook
vegetables from blackest black Earth
bathed in love and grown in Northern sunshine feed me
immersion happens here
true baptism
where I become one with the element of water
de-evolve into two dimensional chemical stick structures
lapping at the sand like sea foam

Sunday, August 17, 2014

In 10 Years

At my most recent job interview, the last question my potential employer asked me was "Where do you see yourself in 10 years?"  It's a standard question that is asked in corporate interviews and not one ever offered up to technical staff since that depends on what is needed and where a given line of work takes me.  My internal thought was RETIRED, but I didn't say that as I thought that might prevent his deciding to hire me and I really need this job.  People often guess my age younger and it felt important not to remind this young investigator that in ten years he would be doing this same hiring thing again and that it might be better to hire someone younger now and postpone that.

Instead I said something to the effect of contributing to the research effort of others, training junior people and working my own project, but it tasted a lie even as I said it.  Every other response I gave him was truthful or as truthful as I knew in the moment.  This one hung me up BIG TIME and I have been thinking about it ever since.

The truth is I DON'T see myself still doing science at 63.  Not that I won't be, just that I don't see myself still contributing with the same passion.  I can feel it waning even now.  I would love nothing more than to fall in love with science again and if that were to happen, I would happily still be working in 10 years.  But the dull ache and sour taste of my most recent position is still pretty fresh.

What I might have said instead that feels more where I really hope to be at 63:
 - RETIRED or retiring
 - Traveling
 - On tour promoting my book
 - Giving poetry readings
 - Gardening
 - Sleeping late
 - Sipping coffee and storming poetry
 - Walking an as-yet-to-be-acquired dog
 - whatever the fuck I want to do

I don't wish I had given him one of these responses.  But I do wonder what the outcome would be if I had.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Word Waterfall

So this morning I have been imagining a waterfall.  Instead of water, what tumbles free are a torrent of words.  Not quite audible until you are immersed in it.  What you hear depending on where you are in the falls.  It would be spectacular.  Perhaps it would recite all the poetry of the world, or words in random order.  Every voice heard.  Every word whisper-spoken for your ears only.

Maybe there is a cave beyond the words bathed in Chagall-worthy blue light where I might hole up and write.

Friday, August 1, 2014

BBQ Explorer

Today I had the opportunity to catch up with my brother and check out a new to me BBQ place in Cincinnati called Eli's.  Just a wonderful afternoon of food and family.  If you are an afficianado of the 'cue you should check it out.

During the conversation Phil told me that I should think about moving that I am an explorer.  WTF!?!  I don't feel like an explorer.  I love to travel, but I also love coming back to a place I know.  I have been thinking about that comment since he made it, made it twice because I must have given him the WTF look.  He elaborated about how I prowl around and discover things on my own and how wonderful it would be to have more things to discover.

I don't see myself as an explorer.  Explorers after all have big names like Marco Polo and Christopher Columbus, Jacques Cousteau and Neil Armstrong.  But me?  That didn't feel like it fit.  Of course it didn't fit that definition.  I am more of a micro-explorer delving into the less big things around me and in me.  THAT feels right.  I love small things, the smaller the better.  So maybe little brother is right.  I AM an explorer.

Funny how people see you and recognize something you don't about the familiar thing that is self.

Now excuse this micro-explorer who is off to take a micro nap and digest the BBQ and the intriguing notions of lunch.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Monday FW.

People have told me my whole life that I look like my mom.  Every time it made me growl in the back of my head and shout into my closed mouth that I AM NOT MY MOM!

When they told my mom how much she resembled her mom, I'm sure she had a similar and uniquely own response to being told that.

As daughters we do NOT want to be our mothers.  We want to individuate and rebel against the wicked DNA that stamps us out like clones.  We especially do not want to be mothers we do not like or understand.

My Grami was a stay at home.  Disciplined regarding child rearing and cleaning in a way that makes drill instructors look like cuddly kittens.  My rebellious mama was a career woman who moved half way across the US by herself in a generation of stay at homes who never left their parent's zip code.  She was not exactly cuddly, but certainly our home was full of kid clutter and drifting dog hair bunnies that would have made my Grami stroke out.  My mama's rebellious girl nixed the child thing altogether and made career her path.  And not just any career, but a brainiac one - science.

So that is how we differ.

It's taken a lot more time and even more grace to allow for the recognition of how we are the same outside of our faces.

We three women are wicked smart.  All three of us devour books as if we are starving.

We three women are phenomenally independent.  My Grami could shoot a pheasant, dress and cook it.  She raised two smart kids while her hubby was gone through the week.  My mama had a mean jump shot and taught me never to just give the control of my money over to a man simply bc he has a dick (although I'm sure she would have used the more medically correct penis).  I can strip and paint a house, repair double hung windows, lay tile, and manage my own damn money thankyouverymuch.  

We are all three very spiritual, although the form of that varies.  Grami was Uber Catholic.  Mama feigns Catholic, but really believes in the god of medicine.  I walk both worlds, easily holding them equally.  My religion is neither science nor organized faith.  My beliefs are softer edged and mush together in delightful ways, but no less strong than my predecessors.

We are all so incredibly beautiful.  None of us believing it even as we stare it in the face.  Filled with thoughts of not pretty, awkward and undeserving.  On their shoulders, I alone seem poised to escape that way of thinking.  I call bullshit on it.  I see how beautiful my Grami was, how beautiful my mama is and how beautiful I am.

Yes we are alike.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

July 20 Fast Write

James Garner died this weekend.  Maverick and Rockford Files were integral parts of my childhood and I loved his handsomeness and sassy mouth that never got him smacked.  But he didn't really mean all that much to me not in the way other actors and performers do.  So why write a blog post about someone like that?

I noticed a couple months ago that I was listening more attentively to the death roll of famous folks.  Listening and reflexively, some might say obsessively, checking their age to see how old they were.

Mickey Rooney - older
James Garner - younger
Ralph Waite - younger
Sid Ceasar - older
Shirley Temple - younger
Pete Seeger - older

Younger?  Older?  Yes.  Younger than my mom.  Older than my mom.  I know her time is coming, part of me thinking it might be better sooner rather than later - a fucked up and twisty thought that both makes sense and makes me feel like an emotionless fucktard at the same time.

I never used to do this.  OKOKOK.  I might note if someone passed away who was younger than me with that what-a-waste thought.  But I didn't give any thought to my mom's mortality.  I never have.  She will always be here.  Even when my dad passed away 30 years ago, I never worried about her.

I can't imagine a life without her in it, even as broken down as she is.  And at the same time, I see her suffering every day trying to understand what's happening to her, trying to know why people seem angry at her.  I see the amount of courage it takes to trust me when I tell her something she can't remember.  Sometimes she can't muster the trust and frustration blooms on both sides.  For her it will be forgotten in 15 minutes.  For me it sometimes takes a bit longer, sometimes it lodges like a splinter and I can't quite get it out.

I want her to be happy.  I want to be happy.  Somedays there isn't an equation where both those things can be true.  Some days I choose her.  Days where I feel able and strong.  More and more I am choosing me.  I feel no guilt around that choice.  I should have been choosing me more often from the beginning.

So what is the point of the post - fuck if I know.  It's a fast write.  Maybe it's a recognition of sorts that my life is taking another turn in the spiral.  That as her generation passes from us we are all bumped up generationally, we become the old guard.  I want to dig in my heels and make time stop.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Fast Write

Today I got an invite to my 35 year HS reunion.  I wanted to be angry and toss it in the trash, but I couldn't muster that.  The truth is I don't care.  None of those women have a place in my life today.  I am not sad about that.  But that desire to be angry.....what is that about?

My HS years sucked.  No other way to describe them.  I don't blame anyone for that.  I just was not cut out for the experience.  Too different.  Trying too hard to be the same.  Not enough self-confidence to tell people to go fuck themselves.  It's a recipe for disaster.  I am grateful for a wonderful education, but that's about it.

I don't miss those days, so why would I want to reminisce about them?  I don't even long to do that for the years that were amazing, my college years, so why would I hark back to days of unhappiness and stress?  Exactly.  I wouldn't.

So I tossed it in the recycle bin and went on with my day.  I know who I am and it's not that girl anymore.

Monday, July 14, 2014


I come from the frozen tundra of the North American plains
I come from a Crayola 64 pack with built in sharpener
I come from generations of farmers who broke back broke the land
I come from rising yeast, humming motors and the clash of mismatched spirits
I come from old dusty stacks of unread books
I come from barefeet on the cool marble floor
I come from icy Vikings and earthy Huns
I come from birchless forests
I come from big dripping blocks of ice
I come from impossibly unequal DNA strands
I come from telephone wires and Victory gardens
I come from silent women and even more silent men
I come from chasubles, incense and children's voices in the dark
I come from going last
I come from emerald green, royal blue and plain white
I come from small colored bottles in the kitchen window
I come from paper dolls, Spirograph and Mystery Date
I come from Betelgeuese and the small blue planet

I come from a place to which I will not, cannot return

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Happy Birthday to Me.

So yesterday was my birthday.  A day when I usually take stock of the previous year and spend some time thinking about what next year can hold.  I was doing OK with that process despite the fact that tomorrow I am being let go again.  Actually, was doing more than OK.  I was smiling and genuinely happy.  Tuesday I spent jump starting the celebration with my mom and her peeps in memory care who sang the loveliest rendition of Happy Birthday I have ever received.  Everything aligned beautifully and I felt radiant.

That feeling transitioned into my actual BD and I felt happy.  Until about 3PM when I got a phone call from my mom blaming me for her lockdown in memory care, telling me what a hateful daughter I was, alternately begging and threatening to walk home.  She continued on with how I was selfish and had done this to her to make my life easier. On and on it went for 45 minutes.  People will ask why I let it go on that long.  The answer is simple.  I always believe that I can turn these conversations around or at least settle her into a more calm mode.  Call me delusional.  But, it does sometimes work - a fine example of variant interval positive reinforcement  operant conditioning.

Funny how that one phone call was the pin that popped the BD balloon.  I tried not to be angry at her, after all she didn't remember that it was my BD or even care when I reminded her.  Her disease is not her fault.  But I was angry.  Livid that she had managed to spoil yet another BD.  More than angry I was deeply hurt by her words, more so than any other time she has said these things to me, and over the last year she has said them a lot.  More like shouted them.

I went home ate some sugar, knowing it would make me crash after, which it did.  I laid down took a sweet afternoon nap.  But I felt no better when I woke up prowly and restless like a cat.  I needed something, I just didn't know what it was.  (Don't look for the a-ha revelation because there isn't one.  I still have no idea what I was needing in that moment).

Fast forward 24 hours....

Today I feel mostly happy again.  Just a few dregs of that angry hurt phone call remain.  I am not angry or hurt toward my mom anymore.  Just a tiny bit angry and hurt at no one in particular.  Trying not to turn that inward or eat it like I have in the past.  Trying not to lash out at random passerbys to rid myself of it.

So why did I post such a downer - I dunno for the same reason I like imperfect, funny and ridiculous FB profile pix.  I am not perfect and refuse to glam it up so that people think I am.  Fuck it.  This is me.  One day post BD.  And this is what being 53 looks like today.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

A Hero’s Journey

You won’t find any Homer here
No epic war
No Achilles’ downfall
No divine intervention from Zeus

There is no magic ring
No frightening travels through long dead mountains
in search of hoarded gold
No wizard to step in and save the hero

This is a hero’s journey
of the everyday sort
Every step harder than the one before
Battling the urge to turn away
To turn for hobbit home
To rest
To quit
To say I am not enough

Every day cracked open wider and wider
Til the wind blows through
and whistles around your bones
every piece of you held up to the light
and seen for the lead it is
not gold

it is a journey of shuffled steps
in house slippers
success is a certain knowing light
rarer than any dragon gold

measured in minutes and hours
it is small strangling circles
where air becomes scarce and breathing labored
tempers flare and consume the oxygen that remains

it is ever about patience
finding more
finding none
throwing it away like gypsy coin

A journey that does not cover miles
That succeeds or fails in
The meeting of fingertips
Two people reunited for a moment

This quest is doomed to fail
But the best that I can do
is the best that I can do
and that will be my measure for success


Mean Girls Are Never Pretty

Mom's sojourn in Memory Care ended when she could no longer stand and became what they term a 2-assist.  She transitioned to Skilled C...